Playing safe

By • Published: May 28th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Some rules are meant to be broken, as the old cliché goes… like coloring outside the lines or wearing white after Labor Day. But in the world of sports, playing by the rules could be one of the best calls an athlete can make to stay safe on the field.

A new study shows that foul play caused nearly one-hundred-thousand high school sports injuries between 2005 and 2007.

Researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio studied nine different sports and found that six percent of injuries stemmed from rule-breaking plays.

It’s simple: broken rules equals more broken bones.

Soccer players and female basketball players were more likely to be injured during plays that violated official rules than athletes in other sports. The most common complaint? Head injuries. About one-quarter of the injuries sustained during illegal play were concussions.

More than seven-million students play high school sports in the United States. And all those touchdowns, baskets and goals led to about two-million injuries in 2006. Overall, football players are the most likely candidates for injury.

Researchers say educating players and coaches and enforcing stricter rules to keep unfair play out of bounds could help prevent at least a fraction of these injuries.

Stretching, staying hydrated, using the right equipment and making sure you’re in the right physical condition to be on the field also reduce the chances of getting hurt.

After all, you can’t play anything if you’re injured.